Thinly veiled as a puff piece in which Walt Disney Studios marketing has opted to turn to a veteran consultant to handle the marketing for the fourth installment of the immensely popular Pirates of the Caribbean series, Kim Masters for The Hollywood Reporter has offered a rather scathing piece which hits WDS right where it counts — below the money belt.
Extensively quoting producer Jerry Bruckheimer who has already seen two movies flounder this summer via Disney (although if we were all to be honest, neither were tremendously well received by critics as readily evidenced by RottenTomatoes.com), the article quickly points the finger at WDS Chair Rich Ross and Marketing chief M.T. Carney (whose initials quickly became the butt of several internet jokes immediately after being appointed given the established track record of the Studios). Bruckheimer is non-direct on the matter, only delicately connecting the dots between his critical failures and the marketing campaigns which he points out are plotted eight to twelve months in advance, ‘between the regimes’ in this case. He also notes that bringing in consultant Valerie Van Galder was the Studios’ idea, not his.
The article does go on to burn Carney further over the admittedly very questionable tagline for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – i.e., The Coolest Job Ever, using anonymous sources reportedly close the film’s production while offering a rather insightful second-hand quote from director Jon Turtletaub.
Oddly enough, the article fails to mention the Studios’ successes since Dick Cook was ousted from his position as head of the Studios. Clearly marketing isn’t the weakest link here if the studio were able to become the first in history to produce two films reaching in excess of $1B in box office sales worldwide within the same year (both of which outperform the Bruckheimer films on RottenTomatoes.com for what it may or may not be worth). Marketing goes a long way, but word of mouth is still the number one source of referrals and all the commercials and iPhone games in the world aren’t going to improve the quality of the actual product.